Michael Crestohl, W1RC/VE2XL writes on January 12th, 2021:
To the Amateur Radio Community:
Bad news again, I am afraid.
After giving the matter much careful research, thought, discussion and consideration my accomplices and I have come to the conclusion that holding our semi-annual hamfest on April 30th and May 1st 2021 as scheduled could very possibly endanger the health and safety of our staff members, our exhibitors, vendors, attendees and local area residents. It is a risk that we do not in good conscience wish to assume. Therefore we have decided that our next event will be held on October 15th and 16th, 2021 as scheduled.
Tickets being sold for the Spring event will be honored in October. However, anyone wanting a full refund can have their money back.
We have based our decision on the following observations.
1. The average current number of new Covid-19 cases reported daily in Massachusetts is at an all-time high. On January 8th alone the number of new cases reported was 7,110. Since a very large number of attendees come from Mass. and beyond these figures are highly significant.
2. The vaccines that are now being made available are being administered at a slower rate than was initially anticipated. It was estimated by the CDC that 10,000,000 individuals would have been vaccinated by January 1st 2021 when in fact only 2,000,000 people were actually inoculated by that date. Phase 2 (which includes people over 65 years of age) is estimated to take commence in February provided everything is on schedule. Phase 3 (which is everyone else) is scheduled for April-June. This is, of course, subject to change.
The time delay between the first injection and fully effective immunization is five to six weeks.
3. Even if we WANTED to do it the state limits on attendees allowed at such events would probably prevent it. Additionally we have no actual contract with the Fair Association and, quite frankly, I don’t even want to ask.
Given all of the above it is abundantly clear that a relatively low number of people will have received both their injections with sufficient time elapsed for full protection of the vaccine to be in effect in time for the hamfest opening on April 30th. It is our desire to resume the hamfest only at such time when it is safe to do so and my main criteria for that is when a large majority if not all attendees have been vaccinated.
Under these circumstances my team and I have come to the unanimous conclusion that April 30th is clearly too early to safely hold the hamfest and it should not be held until October.
On the other hand we feel that by Labor Day 2021 there will have been sufficient supplies of the vaccines produced and administered to everybody who wants it and, barring any unforeseen developments, it will be reasonably safe once again to hold large public gatherings like the Deerfield Fair, the HamXposition at Marlborough MA in September and NEAR-Fest XXX on October 15th and 16th at the Deerfield Fairgrounds.
Please tell all your buddies and plan to attend our grand “NEAR-Fest Homecoming.” We are planning the biggest blowout bash to celebrate our return after missing three NEAR-Fests. You can bet this one will be memorable and you won’t won’t want to miss it.
Advance tickets are still on sale.
Michael Crestohl, W1RC/VE2XL
The New England Amateur Radio Festival, Inc.
Billed as “The Best Little Hamfest in the World,” the 2021 Vermont Ham Radio Convention (HAM-CON) will be held online on Saturday, February 27, 2021.
It features areas for the flea market, vendors, and “Meet Your Pals.” Also featured will be forums, meetings and demonstrations. There is no admission fee.
According to the Convention’s website, there will be two accessible portals:
- FLEA MARKET and MEET & GREET PORTAL has several rooms with vendors showing off their wares via camera. Pick a room, look at the stuff, ask questions and make deals. If you reach a deal, negotiate payment and shipping with the vendor. And run into pals while you shop, move to a rag chew room and tell stories!
- FORUMS and DEMONSTRATIONS PORTAL has several rooms with a variety of forums on different topics. Some of the forums are pre-recorded, and some are live. In many cases, we will have the speakers available after the forum to answer your questions
For more information, visit http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/online-ham-con-arrl-vermont-state-convention or the HAM-CON site at http://www.ham-con.org
With Covid19 restrictions precluding an in-person gathering, the Ham Radio University (HRU) educational conference will be held as a virtual event Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm as a GoToWebinar on-line video conference.
HRU 2021 will feature 14 informational presentations by local experts in a broad range of Amateur Radio activities including:
- Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
- Basics of HF Operating
- Communicating Through Amateur Radio Earth Satellites
- Remote Station Operating Over the Internet
- Software Defined Radios
- HF and UHF Digital Communications
- Using RaspberryPi Computers in Amateur Radio
In addition to viewing the presentations, on-line attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters.
Presented in memory of Ham Radio University’s founder, Phil Lewis, N2MUN, who passed away in March, HRU 2021 also will be the on-line convention of the ARRL’s NYC-Long Island Section.
As in years past, participation in HRU 2021 will be free of charge, with an optional suggested donation of $5.00 but advance registration–that starts December 15, 2020–will be required for each presentation.
Further information, including the schedule of forums and advance registration starting December 15, 2020, is on line at: <http://www.HamRadioUniversity.
Dennis Egan, W1UE, writes on the HamXposition.org list:
Below is a recap of the W1A operation by band and mode for the virtual convention on November 6-8, 2020:
For the Northeast HamExposition Virtual Convention this year, W1A was set up to be operated by various operators using their own stations. Seven operators volunteered to operate: W1RM, AJ1DM, W2NR, K1EIC, AI1G, W1FJ, KB1TBU, and KC2LSD.
We are coming up on a grand finale virtual weekend. If you haven’t already, there is still time to register! This email gives a brief summary – see http://www.hamxposition.org for details and to sign up.
Our HamXposition special event station – W1A – will be activated on Friday evening, November 6th and will be on the air through 7 PM the following Sunday. W1A will be operated from individual operator’s home stations – you can sign up so that your station is one of them.
On Saturday, November 7th at 10 AM, the Nashua Area Radio Society will be holding an online version of the “Ham Radio Bootcamp”. The cover story in October QST, this activity is geared for new hams looking into the various ways they can experience the hobby. However, even if you’ve had your license for a long time you might learn something new!
On Saturday November 7th at 7 PM, we will be holding our “Virtual Grand Banquet”. Order your favorite take-out or delivery, pull up your chair, and enjoy an evening highlighted with keynote speaker Gordon West. At the conclusion of the event, we will hold a drawing for the banquet prize – a Kenwood V71A dual band transceiver with Astron power supply and dual-band mag mount antenna. You must be present at drawing time to win.
New England ARES Academy
October 10-31, 2020
View the full schedule and sign up at
The first-ever New England Division ARES Academy, originally scheduled for the Division Convention in November, will instead be held over a period of several weeks in October via Zoom. There are five Basic Track classes for those just getting started, and more advanced classes and workshops for those who already have the basics. One-hour classes will be held on weeknights from 7:30 to 8:30 PM EDT, and two-hour workshop sessions will be held Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 AM EDT.
Just a few of the topics covered include:
* Go Kits
* Hardening Your Station or Repeater
* Expedient Training & Utilization of Volunteers
* Working with Served Agencies (Panel Discussion)
The NE-ARES Academy is an outgrowth of the successful NH-ARES Academy program that ran at the NH State Fire Academy for eight years. The program’s goal is to offer both basic and advanced skills training based in ARRL ARES training standards. Academy Instructors are all recognized experts in their subject area.
Date: October 10th to October 31st
Time: 7:30 to 8:30 PM EDT (weeknight courses), 9:00 to 11:00 AM EDT
HamXposition Virtual Banquet
November 7, 2020, 7PM
Event registration at <https://hamxposition.org/regi
On Saturday, November 7th, the HamXposition Convention Committee will be hosting our very first Virtual Banquet! Order your favorite take-out or delivery, pull up a chair to your screen, and join your friends for an interesting presentation. The event will be emceed by our very own Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, and featuring Keynote Speaker Gordon West, WB6NOA.
In addition, there will be a grand prize drawing of a Kenwood TM-V71A Transceiver, Astron Power Supply, and dual band mobile antenna, generously contributed by the Minuteman Repeater Association (MMRA) (must be present during prize drawing to win).
The event is free, but we ask that you please register using the link above. Instructions and a link to join the event will be delivered to your inbox a few days before the event.
Date: Saturday, November 7th
Time: 7:00 PM EST (UTC-05:00)
Location: Your computer or mobile device, anywhere!
November 7, 2020, 10 AM
Sign up on the NARS website at <https://www.n1fd.org/ham-boot
The Nashua Area Radio Society (NARS) will again be hosting their wildly successful Ham Bootcamp, recently featured on the cover of QST magazine, on Saturday, November 7th via Zoom.
Ham Bootcamp is a series of activities designed to help newly licensed Technician and General class license holders get on the air and use their amateur radio license, or for prospective hams who are interested in seeing what the hobby has to offer, including:
* Radio Programming Tutorials and Help
* Getting Started with EchoLink
* Joining a Repeater Net
* Putting together a Station for Repeaters
* Building an HF Station including simple HF Antennas
* Putting up an HF Antenna, Feedline, and Ground
* Getting started with WSJT-X and FT8 Digital
… and more!
Date: Saturday, November 7th
Time: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST (UTC-05:00)
W1A Special Event Callsign
November 6-8, 2020
Operating schedule and sign up at
The W1A special event callsign will operate from individual operator’s home stations during the weekend of the HamXposition Virtual Banquet. Yours could be one of these stations!
Start: Friday, November 6th 7:00 PM EST (UTC-05:00)
End: Sunday, November 8th 7:00 PM EST (UTC-05:00)
Location: Your shack!
Masks required. The theme is antique broadcast radios, TVs, etc. but ham gear bargains can be found from the outside tailgaters.
Updated: October 1, 2020
The first-ever New England Division ARES Academy, originally scheduled for the Division Convention in November, will instead be held over a period of several weeks in October via Zoom. There are five Basic Track classes for those just getting started, and more advanced classes and workshops for those who already have the basics. One-hour classes will be held on weeknights from 7:30 to 8:30, and two-hour workshop sessions will be held Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00.
A big benefit of the on-line schedule is the opportunity to take every single class and workshop instead of having to pick and choose. Weeknight class participants will be able to ask questions and interact with the instructor via chat. The two-hour Saturday workshops are designed to be even more interactive. Academy Instructors are all recognized experts in their subject area.
The NE-ARES Academy is an outgrowth of the successful NH-ARES Academy program that ran at the NH State Fire Academy for eight years. The program’s goal is to offer both basic and advanced skills training based in ARRL ARES training standards.
We plan to continue this program at the Convention once the pandemic is over, in hopes that building a standardized base of training across New England will enhance our ability to provide better local emergency communications, and an effective ARESMAT (ARES Mutual Assistance Team) response across the region, and beyond.
Academy coordinator Dave Colter, WA1ZCN, was the original editor and principal author of ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course series in the early 2000s, and creator of the original NH-ARES Academy. He is currently ASEC-Training for NH-ARES.
Dear Friends of NEAR-Fest:
Now that NEAR-Fest XXVII and XXVIII have been cancelled there are some important issues with which we must deal.
First, this is going to be a major hit on our treasury because, notwithstanding the reason we are being canceled, we have contracts that need to be honored. 2019, as you may remember, was plagued with wet weather for both May and October. Attendance was down and so are our cash reserves. Consequently, the hard facts are that we need to raise some new capital starting this Fall if NEAR-Fest is to survive.
In order to do this beginning soon we will be selling advance admission tickets for NEAR-Fest XXIX ($10.00) and inside parking passes ($10.00) either at Ham Radio Outlet in Salem NH and Ross Hochstrasser’s Clock Shop, 40 Walnut Street, Whitman MA as well as by mail to Michael Crestohl, W1RC, 316 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead MA 01945 with a check or money order and a SASE.
The exciting thing about the advance tickets are that all purchasers of advance tickets will be entered in a special prize drawing for either a Xiegu G90 HF SDR Transceiver (value $425.00) or a Yaesu FT-891 HF Mobile Transceiver (value $559.00). Winner does NOT have to be present to win.
We are going to offer a special “VIP Pass” to NEAR-Fest for those who really want to see us through this difficult and trying time. It will be good for the person to whom it was issued for life, allow that person and the occupants of their vehicle (up to four people) and the vehicle to enter at 8:00 AM on Friday morning. Cost of this VIP Pass is $250.00 and is available by mail only.
Additionally, the cost of admission at the Fairgrounds will be increased to $15.00. This added $5.00 is to help alleviate the cost of not having NEAR-Fest XXVII but advance ticket buyers will be able to save this $5.00 per ticket surcharge. I cannot tell you at this time if this $5.00 surcharge will be permanent. Once we are financially comfortable again we will decide whether or not to restore the cost to $10.00.
In the event that the May 2021 event cannot be held any tickets or passes purchased will be valid and honored at the next NEAR-Fest so no one will lose.
We are asking our association and clubs if they can help us sell advance tickets to their members. The procedure will be simple and straightforward. Clubs would determine how many tickets and parking passes their members want, collect the money, send the list with this information along with a check payable to NEAR-Fest to us. We would take care of making sure that the prize draw stubs are properly filled in and put in the prize barrel for the drawing in July. After that takes place we would ensure they are kept safe so they can be put in the prize barrel at NEAR-Fest in May. The tickets would be sent to the club for distribution to the members. Members should be informed that they are buying admission tickets for our fall event. They are not buying a raffle ticket. However there is no limit on the number of tickets anyone may purchase. Drawing will take place at NEAR-Fest XXIX in May 2021.
Secondly, clubs who have already applied for the 2020 Association and Club Early Entry passes will not have to reapply again in January 2021.
With your help we will survive this horrific nightmare.